Overall not so enjoyable. I wanted to like it, but in the third steep (after two initial rinses), I found myself not even wanting to continue drinking it. What happened?

Admittedly, this was only the fourth shu I have ever tasted (so what follows is my amateur tasting). My first one was a $10 cake from a Chinatown grocery store: marine and musty. My third was a 2007 “Huang Zhi” (from Crimson Lotus) and especially the intense mushroomy aroma and oily texture blew me away (I wish they had more in stock). The present shu, however, although it had some mushroomy aroma that I liked (and wood aroma that I didn’t like so much) actually turned me off by the third steep due to an overpowering earth taste. Not the interesting earthy taste I can appreciate, but rather just more like dirt, if that makes any sense. Long wet earth/dirt aftertaste in second steep. Then, the third steep suddenly bottomed out with an odd tatse, much weaker body. In the 4th steep, the earth taste was gone already, but there was nothing notable I could discern, and it became a casual drinking cup rather than something to study and inspire. By the 7th and 8th steeps it had mellowed and smoothed out, the earthiness receded and was replaced by mustiness and wet cavern. Did not get to 10 steeps.

There are positive traits: that mushroomy aroma at first, some mineral taste, a noticeable thickness, fullness, and somewhat creamy. And especially, it had a grounding effect and left me in contemplation and calm, steady focussed work. That was great.

Flavors: Earth, Musty, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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I am new to tasting, so I am adjusting my ratings of each tea to accommodate my new experiences and learning.

But overall this is my logic:

95+ are teas I want to have on hand and buy again. I am willing to save my money for them (within reason) and measure out every last 10th of a gram.

90-94 are teas that I highly praise and recommend, but they are not ones that I prioritize to buy again and have on hand.

80-89 are teas that I am thankful for trying, but I would rather save my money if necessary to buy a 95+ tea.

If I do not rate a tea, it means I feel bad about giving a score of 79 or less and would prefer the community and experts weigh in with their math.

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